Energy & Environment

Hollywood Henry Waxman Promises Cap and Trade by Memorial Day

If Hollywood Henry Waxman has his way, we might have to cancel the Indianapolis 500 this year. At least, he claims to be racing to adopt a “cap and trade” anti-global warming bill through his committee by the time the engines rev on Memorial Day.  

Waxman is chairman-by-coup d’etat of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, overthrowing former Energy and Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell in an ominous sign for those who value particular liberties such as free speech and freedom of the press. Dingell was no conservative, but Waxman is a hyperliberal.  (His 2006 rating by the ACLU was 100, and by the American Conservative Union, 4). Waxman will likely spend most of the 111th Congress in show trials of Bush administration officials and passing freedom-destroying measures such as the Air America Bailout — otherwise mislabeled as the “Fairness Doctrine” — and a radical “cap-and-trade” rationing scheme to disguise a massive, competitiveness-killing and job-exporting energy tax in the name of “global warming”.

Waxman hit the ground running, with a hearing last week that in reality amounted to little more than a press conference for CEOs of corporations very proud of themselves for having discovered the world’s second-oldest profession, “rent-seeking”. That is, trying to make their fortune from governmental policy favors rather than odious activities such as innovation and competition. Global warming is their latest excuse.

These companies have joined to put their mouths where their money is and appeared to tell everyone how responsible they are in demanding the previously unthinkable. Carrying on a plan originally hatched by Ken Lay and Enron, all of them think “action, now!” is imperative to ward off global calamity, so long as it provides them mandates subsidies and other sweeteners (don’t forget those taxes to pay for them!). When the less-inefficient energy tax is suggested, they suddenly counsel against doing anything hasty.

At this show, Waxman set a Memorial Day deadline for House adoption of a cap-and-trade rationing scheme — they hate to vote on these things during the cold months, even if they’ve said for eight years, “We must act now!” He claimed to discern that “A consensus is developing that our nation needs climate legislation.” This should not be confused with the existing “overwhelming consensus” they thundered about for six years when someone else was in charge.

Waxman’s deadline should be treated like Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “deadline” for bringing up such a bill, which was July 4, 2007. (By the way, does “deadline” indicate that, if they fail, we can be done with this tiresome business, or shall we finally conclude that words have no meaning to people who also swear that cooling is further proof of warming?)

If you blinked last year, you might have missed cap-and-trade failing for the third straight time in the only body which dared to bring it up — sort of — which was the Senate. Actually, Harry Reid yanked the bill from the floor, not even subjecting it to a vote on passage after his caucus howled about the shellacking they were taking from the public (thank you, all). Reid spent more time naming post offices than he did daring to debate their rationing scheme in the open.

The House can of course pass what it wants when it wants, and didn’t lift a finger. This year, things could reverse, with the House taking action though, notwithstanding Waxman’s peacocking, Pelosi just publicly demurred on that prospect. Regardless, congressional Democrats’ threats will, in substance, likely remain just that.

The reasons are obvious: they do not dare risking the political fallout this year, on the heels of outrage over energy prices, during a cooling trend and in the run-up to Obama’s first mid-term election in 2010 — an event in which the party occupying the White House historically loses seats, and you may recall spectacularly lost them last time that party was the Democrats and they tried an energy tax. The same is true for the actual election-year of 2010, of course. It’s simple: vote on this bill now, lose the House.

That kicks the regime of our “must act now!” crowd to address “the greatest threat facing mankind” into 2011. Do not be confused by the disconnect between such long-running bombast and reality: this isn’t about trying to actually change the climate, which no one claims any of their bills or treaties would accomplish. It’s about finding the best vehicle, and then the best time, to finally get the rest of their long-held agenda which doesn’t manage to get slipped into one bailout bill or another.

So you should merely expect much more political theater this year, not any sincere effort at enacting the Al Gore-Kyoto Treaty agenda. But what theater it will be.

As the UK’s Scientific Alliance just wrote, “The climate change lobby desperately needs 2009 to break records for high average temperatures and extreme weather. Summer ice melt in the Arctic in 2008 was hyped, but the winter growth seems to be more rapid than usual.”

What this means is that, once spring finally breaks, we should see unprecedented alarmist spin and even more outrageous abuses of the data than we have to date, which really is saying something. Of course, the Inconvenient Truth crowd’s litany about the global cooling of recent years and the current, severe winter being “consistent with” their pet theory is a foretaste of that, as is the crab-walk over to “climate change” from warming (and before that, from cooling). The first few pages of Red Hot Lies offers a whopping list of the everything’s-caused-by-warming silliness we should see more of. Not to let their insanity rest, both the New York Times and Time magazine rushed to blame the recent USAirways crash on climate change, as well.

While a great admission of the weakness of their position, all of this is too bad, really. They need to come out in the open and take ownership of that which they would do to you, but don’t want you to know the truth about. Then, I suggest, the debate really would be over.

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